BACKGROUND: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the commonest diseases of Western populations, affecting 20 to 30% of adults. GERD is multifaceted and the classical oesophageal symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation often overlap with atypical symptoms that impact upon the respiratory system and airways. This is referred to as extra-oesophageal reflux disease (EERD), or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which manifests as chronic cough, laryngitis, hoarseness, voice disorders and asthma.
AIM: The 'Reflux and its consequences' conference was held in Hull in 2010 and brought together a multidisciplinary group of experts all with a common interest in the many manifestations of reflux disease to present recent research and clinical progress in GERD and EERD. In particular new techniques for diagnosing reflux were showcased at the conference.
METHODS: Both clinical and non-clinical key opinion leaders were invited to write a review on key areas presented at the `Reflux and its consequences' conference for inclusion in this supplement.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Eleven chapters contained in this supplement reflected the sessions of the conference and included discussion of the nature of the refluxate (acid, pepsin, bile acids and non-acid reflux); mechanisms of tissue damage and protection in the oesophagus, laryngopharynx and airways. Clinical conditions with a reflux aetiology including asthma, chronic cough, airway disease, LPR, and paediatric EERD were reviewed. In addition methods for diagnosis of reflux disease and treatment strategies, especially with reference to non-acid reflux, were considered.